One of the hardest things for me to get rid of when I started my venture to de-clutter my life was my books. I held such emotional attachment to my books that I had lug them around year after year to dozens of places and stored them on multiple shelves.
When I was packing up my apartment before moving to Mexico, I remember staring at all the books I had collected over the years and asked myself 'Why am I holding on to these?' After about 10 minutes of looking the bookcase up and down and side to side, I had a potent realization, as I saw two copies of Milan Kundera's Life is Elsewhere, unaware that I owned multiple copies, I came to the difficult understanding that I thought these books reflected who I am. Not only to myself, but to those who would enter my home and see these books.
It was difficult to admit this to myself after 10 or more years of aggressively packing and unpacking these 'meaningful' objects that I loved. I immediately started packing all the books in boxes (keeping a few select books that brought me joy) and drove about two car loads to the local library. When I returned I gazed at the empty shelf, and realized that I was still me, with or without the books, and I was still happy.
Even though I've moved most of my reading to my Kindle, I still get the urge to pick up a tangible book every now and then. A big part of living a zero waste or more eco-friendly life is to purchase as much as you can secondhand. I was happy to stumble upon Under the Volcano Books - a used book store in Mexico City.
Under the Volcano Books has a very friendly staff with a well-curated selection of books tucked in a small space. Stacked wall to wall with English books, it carries mostly books in the humanities, ranging from art, politics, poetry, history, philosophy, fiction. It reminded me of a used book store I would slip into on a rainy day in Vancouver. The founder, Grant Cogswell, who is an American screenwriter, journalist, poet from Seattle, started the store when he noticed a lack of English books in the city. It's a great cave like space to check out in Mexico City.
Under the Volcano Books is located on the second floor of a funky building in Condesa and is above the American Legion, an all American bar where a lot of expats frequent. So you can grab a book & have a beer. They also accept donations if you're looking to de-attach from any books you might have laying around.
Address: Celaya 25, Col. Hipódromo Condesa, Mexico City C.P. 06100 (2 Blocks West of Metrobus Sonora)
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm
Price Range: 120-180 mxn